There’s no more ubiquitous luxury watch in the world than the Rolex Submariner and for 2020 the family gets upgraded with nine brand new watch models. While many works of high horological art go completely unnoticed on the wrist by the general populace, nearly everyone from royalty to children in remote regions of the world can identify the classic Submariner profile. With that kind of brand recognition, changing the Submariner formula is a difficult prospect, to say the least, and when Rolex does make a substantial change to the line, the news commands attention. For 2020, the brand has taken the Submariner series through a sizeable (by Rolex’s famously conservative standards) evolution, and perhaps nowhere is this better shown than in the next-generation changes to the standard bread-and-butter black dial Submariner Date. The new Rolex Submariner 126610LN, along with the new two-tone Rolex Submariner 126613LN (black dial and bezel) and 126613LB (blue dial and bezel) makes changes to the case, dial, movement, and bracelet, which combined create a new direction for the iconic Rolex aesthetic heading into the 2020s.
Models: Submariner 126610LN, Submariner 126613LN, 126613LB
Water Resistance: 300 meters
Case Material: Stainless steel (126610LN), Stainless steel and 18k yellow gold (126613LN/LB)
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire w/date cyclops
Movement: manufacture Caliber 3235: COSC certified automatic three hand w/date
Strap/Bracelet: Stainless steel Oyster bracelet (126610LN), Stainless steel and 18k yellow gold Oyster bracelet (126613LN/126613LB)
Price & Availability: Available now through authorized dealers, $9,150 (126610LN), $14,300 (126613LN and 126613LB))
With a case design as iconic as the Rolex Submariner’s, making adjustments to the formula can be a tricky proposition, but the revised form of the Rolex Submariner 126610LN and Rolex Submariner 126613LN/126613LB shift these proportions around noticeably. The end result is a slightly refreshed face for the historic line, but one that feels a bit more in line with the brand’s legacy than its most recent predecessor. The previous generation of Submariner models prioritized a sense of bold heftiness and aggression in its pursuit of a more modern look for the series, while the Rolex Submariner 126610LN and Rolex Submariner 126613 reverse course on this trend in a surprisingly unorthodox way. While the Submariner line has traditionally held to a 40mm case diameter, the stainless steel case of the Rolex Submariner 126610LN is actually slightly upsized at 41mm, with similar increases for the two-tone steel and gold Rolex Submariner 126613LN in black with the matching bezel and 126613LB in blue with a matching blue ceramic bezel. How these new models wear this size, however, creates a far more noticeable visual difference. For the Submariner 126610LN and Submariner 126613, Rolex has substantially narrowed the profile of the lugs, bringing the case profile more in line with classic Submariner references of decades past while also noticeably slimming the overall case depth for a sleeker, more vintage appearance on the wrist. The Cerachrom ceramic bezel keeps the traditional Submariner dive scale, with all numerals and gradations engraved for depth then inlaid with a fine layer of platinum. Naturally, these evolutions of the Submariner case keep the 300 meters of water resistance expected of a modern Submariner.
The dials of the Rolex Submariner 126610 and Rolex Submariner 126613 are a far subtler evolution than the case, but have still undergone a few notable changes to the recognizable formula. Chief among these are the applied diver indices, which have been reduced in size somewhat from the previous generation for a more streamlined, lighter look, along with slimmer iterations of the iconic Mercedes hands, which fall more in line with vintage iterations. The other noticeable change for both these models is the minuscule crown emblem added to the “Swiss Made” logo at 6 o’clock, indicating the presence of the new 3235 automatic movement within.
The in-house Caliber 3235 automatic movement used in both the Rolex Submariner 126610LN and the Rolex Submariner 126613LN is hardly a new sight in the Rolex lineup, having first appeared in 2015, but these releases are part of the first wave of Submariner models to use the movement. While the Submariner series is among the last of Rolex’s product lines to receive the 3235, it remains an impressively durable and technically competent power plant. With both COSC certified chronometer accuracy and Rolex’s own stringent “Superlative Chronometer” specification, this movement is expected to be accurate to within +2/-2 seconds per day, while offering a large 70-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph (4Hz) rate.
Both the Rolex Submariner 126610LN and the Rolex Submariner 126613LN/126613LB are equipped with the latest evolution of the three-link Rolex Oyster bracelet. While the look remains largely the same as previous iterations, the execution on the links is nearly flawless with essentially no visible gap between each link. Of course, this simple design takes on a drastically different character for both versions, as the all stainless steel variant of the Rolex Submariner 126610LN feels decidedly purposeful and rugged. On the other hand, the mix of stainless steel with broad 18k yellow gold center links offers a classic blend of sport and luxury. Both iterations also offer Rolex’s excellent Glidelock micro-adjustment system on the clasp.
While the changes to the overall Submariner lineup are far from radical, the updates to both the Rolex Submariner 126610LN and the Rolex Submariner 126613LN/126613LB offer a refreshed face for one of the most iconic nameplates in watchmaking. Both the Rolex Submariner 126610LN and the Rolex Submariner 126613LN are available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the Rolex Submariner 126610LN is $9,150, while the two-tone Rolex Submariner 126613LN or 126613LB is priced at $14,300 USD. For more information, please visit the Rolex brand website.